The first time teen influencer Lexia Hayden saw a TikTok video featuring a Squishmallow food plush stuffed animal, she knew she had to have one.
“I love their faces, I love how soft they are and I think it’s so cool how on TikTok the videos always show how someone’s Squishmallow matches their room,” said Hayden, 14, who lives in New York City and posts pics of herself and her collection of “plushies” to her 260,000 Instagram followers.
“What I love is that the shape is so appealing — there are no edges,” said Lexia’s mom Adele. “Lexia is always cuddling with hers when she’s doing homework or reading — it’s like a stuffed animal that really curls into your body.”
Since 2017 when Kellytoy in Vernon, California first introduced Squishmallows to the toy market, more than 82 million have been sold. They range in price from $10 to $100 and come in a wide variety of products, from keychains to a 24-inch beanbag-sized plush. And while you can buy them on Amazon and Walmart or at Costco and Claire’s (or via the competitive resale market on eBay and Etsy if you’re looking for a limited-edition plush), the specialty stores, especially, can barely keep them in stock once they hit shelves.
Take what happened at a local New York City kids’ store: A few weeks ago, a massive line formed outside Lester’s on the Upper East Side after customers got the alert via the store’s social-media sites that 400 of the fluffy faves were stocked and ready to be sold.
Every single one sold out within two days.
“Moms and kids of all ages, from as young as five to pre-teens, were grabbing whichever ones they could and buying whatever they could get their hands on,” said Sabrina Cedeno, manager of the Upper East Side store, adding that there will be another Squishmallow shipment mid-May and monthly sales thereafter. “It didn’t even matter which ones were the most popular.”
If this reminds you of the Beanie Baby — or Furby — craze of the ’90s, Jackie Cucco, senior editor at the Toy Insider, a go-to source for toy reviews, news and info, would agree.
“I think these are so popular because of their collectability factor,” said Cucco, who admits to having 30 Squishmallows food herself.
“You have this squishy marshmallow-looking plush with a simple embroidered face and there are over 1,000 different characters and each has its own fandom. There are constant new releases, too, like their new line of food-themed styles like a burrito and hamburger, and a new collaboration with Hello Kitty, that makes it exciting.”